Anyone spending time in The South learns that New Yorkers hold a special place in the Damn Yankee hierarchy. Then there are Yankees like Tim Grandinetti, who remind us of the pitfalls of stereotyping. The chef at Winston-Salem’s Spring House Restaurant Kitchen & Bar moved to the area ten years ago, and couldn’t sound more appreciative of his new southern home.
Joy Turner has worked with some of the most lauded chefs in Charlotte. She now carries double titles of Catering Director and Head Catering Chef at Project 658. But ask her what she does for a living, Turner’s first response is “the farmer’s wife.”
Chef Geoff may go by his first name around here, but Bragg is all business when it comes to preparing students at the Community Culinary School of Charlotte for real life in the hospitality industry. As supervisor of the in-house café, he leads students through breakfast and lunch service and preparing heat-and-eat takeaway meals.
While he will never shake the French soil from his soul, his new love of the Panthers and efforts to foster the next generation of local chefs make it clear that Chef Charles Sémail’s Carolina roots have grown deep and strong.
Chef Greg Collier and his food have a lot in common. Both seem straightforward at first glance: breakfast means eggs, grits, potatoes, sausage. Collier, a formidable presence manning the grill in his t-shirt and half apron, means plate after plate of simple, hearty food that won’t break the bank. But in both cases, you’d be missing the point if you looked no further.
When Matt Martin arrived in Charlotte in 2013, he had a specific plan in mind. He approached his new job at Fern, Flavors of the Garden as a stepping stone. Two years later, instead of simply adding a vegetarian notch to his chef belt, he has embraced this career path fully, remaining at Fern, now as Executive Chef, at the ripe old age of 25.
Chef Paul Verica frequently sports a Philadelphia Eagles ballcap that proclaims both his origins and one of his non-food obsessions. When it comes to his work, he has a humble streak a mile wide. “It’s the farmers,” he says, when asked what makes the North Carolina Piedmont region worthy of his talents. “Everything we do is first and foremost driven by the ingredients.”
It’s hard to fit Megan Lambert neatly into a category. Senior Instructor at Johnson & Wales, Pastry Chef, Nutritionist, volunteer, small business owner. Yet these titles all emerged from an early drive to share good, healthy food.
Seated at the cool stone bar of The Punch Room on the 15th floor of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, chef Matt Carnevale is the picture of restrained chaos. Boyish in both bearing and appearance, the 31-year old’s apparent youth is belied by the strength of his passion and the diversity of his influences.